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Eating to Reduce Inflammation



While there is no specific “diet” that people with chronic diseases should follow, researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. 


Many of them are found in the Mediterranean diet, which

emphasizes fish, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, among other

staples.


Studies confirm eating foods commonly part of the Mediterranean diet can

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Protect against chronic conditions

  • Decrease the risk of cancer and stroke

  • Help arthritis by curbing inflammation

  • Improve joint mobility and circulation 

  • Achieve an ideal weight and put less pressure on joints 


Here are some of the key foods from the Mediterranean diet that have proven to

decrease inflammation.

  • Fish: mackerel, salmon, tuna, and herring

  • Nuts and Seeds: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, and peaches

  • Vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts, and cucumbers

  • Healthy Fats: extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil

  • Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, and chickpeas

  • Whole Grains: whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta

  • Nightshade Vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, potato (excluding sweet potato) pepper (includes hot and sweet varieties as well as spices like paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and Tabasco) pimento, and goji berries


The Truth About Sugar and Salt!



These ingredients are the main culprit behind arthritic flare-ups. For example, the American Heart Association suggests limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons, or 100 calories, for women and 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories for men. The Mayo Clinic suggests ingesting less than 2300 mg of sodium each day — which seems like a lot until you realize that ½ teaspoon of salt contains 1200 mg! 


Keep in mind not all salts are bad. We recommend when seasoning our foods to use quality and unrefined sea salt. Avoid table salt at all cost! 


MyPlate, PLEASE EMBRACE ME!




In 2011, the USDA replaced its food pyramid with a new icon for healthy eating

called MyPlate. It was designed to provide an easier way for people to understand

and create balanced meals. The MyPlate icon shows an image of a place setting

with a plate and glass. The plate is divided into food group targets (vegetables,

protein, fruits, and grain). Shifting to a plate-based approach to nutrition encourages

people to look at what’s on their actual food plate. Half of your plate should consist

of vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ grains, and an emphasis on water intake.

Healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or avocados should be limited as vegetables, fruits,

whole grains, and beans should make up the bulk of the carbohydrates you are

consuming.



Be an Experiment of One!



While it is true there is no “one size fits all” solution to fight inflammation, there are many foods that have proven to reduce flare-ups and improve symptoms.


Start by cutting down on added sugars, bad oils, and low-quality salts. Then, add in various foods offered in the Mediterranean diet, and remember to get a minimum of 2-2.5 liters of water in your day (more if you are doing higher-intensity exercises. The more you follow this formula- the greater your chance of reducing pain and enjoying more inflammation-free days.

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